Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

Did I just misinterpret Let the Right One In, the book and the 2008 film, something awful? Did my understanding of what was going on go flying off the tracks at some point? Because I've heard too many people refer to it as "a love story" at this point and I definitely have never viewed it as a love story and so what, am I nuts? Am I just way off base?

I've just always thought that it's been a story pretending to be a love story just as Eli's pretending to have actual affection for Oskar but really she's just feeding off of him too, just in a different way. It's an anti-love story. I don't really think that Oskar "loves" Eli either - he's just in awe of her, and likes that she makes him feel powerful. Calling it "a love story" does a disservice to the whole business, as far as I'm concerned.

And yet here's an interview with the remake's producer Simon Oakes and he says this:

"I think this will be an R-rated picture. I'm thinking it's a pretty young demographic, but we are only at the beginning stage of our marketing, because part of it is marketing it as a love story, a redemptive love story."

He refers to it as a love story in a couple other spots in the interview, not just in reference to the marketing, but I included this specific quote because of the new and exciting horribly-inappropriate-from-my-point-of-view adjective thrown in there: REDEMPTIVE??? Oh my god I give up. I give up! Shut down the world, it's over.

Even if you think I'm being a stickler over the phrase "love story" here, there is no room at the table for "redemptive." Oskar finishes the film taking off from home, abandoning his family, to become a serial killer slave for a bloodthirsty monster. I'm not judging - I love the story and think it's wonderfully told in the book and the 2008 film. But it is decidedly NOT redemptive! Good grief what the fuck are you talking about, man???

Like I've said a few times already, I'm trying to have an open mind about this remake. After some initial wailing and gnashing o' teeth, I decided not to be against it just for the sake of the original being so perfect that there's no way they can top it - I'm taking a let's-see-what-happens stance. I like director Matt Reeves' Cloverfield a lot, and Kodi Smit-McPhee and Richard Jenkins are both terrific (I'm not 100% on Chloe Moretz yet but we'll see how I feel after Kick Ass). But when someone so integral to the behind-the-scenes as the producer is talking out of his ass like this on the very core of what the story's about, well it troubles me. I am troubled!


Joe Reid said...

How much longer before you're put out of your misery? I hate to see you like this.

Jason Adams said...

The movie's out on October 1st. But being put out of my misery, that's up to people like you, Joe. PEOPLE THAT CALL THEMSELVES MY FRIENDS.

Dale said...

"I've just always thought that it's been a story pretending to be a love story just as Eli's pretending to have actual affection for Oskar but really she's just feeding off of him too, just in a different way."
I thought that it was a combination of both, really - she feels genuine affection for him, but once Hakan's gone, she sort of starts looking at Oskar to be the replacement. I guess it's meant to be ambiguous, though, so there might not be a real answer.

I completely agree about this "redemptive," bullshit, though. Eli was a monster at the start and a monster at the end - that she MIGHT be capable of caring about someone else doesn't change that. Especially not when that person is going to become her murdering caretaker, and she'll probably lose affection for him as he grows into an adult and she doesn't.

I'm kinda getting the feeling that they're going to change the ending.

Michael Pomerantz said...

After watching the movie, I liked to IMAGINE it was a love story, as though it were this story of two oddballs in life (or unlife) finding a connection together.

But that's only because I don't like to imagine a 10-year-old boy running away from home to become the fake BFF/lover/slave of a centuries-old vampire that also looks like a child. WHICH IS HOW THE MOVIE ENDS.

And I think the book makes it even MORE clear that Oskar is messed up, Eli is just using people because that's all Eli knows how to do. If it's a love story it's about loving what the other person can do for them.

Sparky said...

I think it's subtle. The story is, in away, about love. But it explores a lot of different types, showing that love isn't a simple fairy tale happy ever after. Lacke clearly loves his friend Jocke, but it's not a romantic love, and much of it comes out of grief. Oskar loves Eli, but it's a fascination with someone who doesn't treat him like a "piggy". Hakan loves Eli, but much of it is an unobtainable fantasy.

I'm also concerned after reading that quote. I think this story is just to subtle for the Hollywood Sledgehammer. I agree with Dale in thinking they'll change the ending or at least rose tint it by suggesting that Eli has somehow been changed by Oskar's 'love'

It'll be interesting to see how the film deals with the other ambiguous elements of the book and original film, such as Eli's sex/gender and Oskar's simultaneously naive and psychotic personality. Not to mention Hakan's dual nature of sympathetic victim and repulsive monster.

The more I think about it the more I think this film is going to make me angry. I'm still hoping I'll be pleasantly surprised, though.

Jason Adams said...

Sparky - there's another part to the interview that sorta answers your question at least with regards to the sexual ambiguity of the Eli character, and I found it almost as annoying as the quote I already offered.

"I think in the book it's very disturbing, the implications, and I think they should be left in the book, which is astonishing. John Ajvide Lindqvist is an amazing writer. ... But I don't think it actually lends anything to the movie. In fact, it detracts from it. I mean, I think there are implications and suggestions [in the film]; the famous line, "Will you go steady with me?" "I'm not a girl." Well, that could mean a million things. What does she mean? Does she mean she's not a girl, she's a vampire? Does it mean she's not a girl, she was a girl? Or was a boy? I think you leave ambiguity there."

What a nice way to pretty up that they're pussying out on pushing any boundaries.

Jason Adams said...

Oh and also I def. think saying it's "a story about love" is a much safer way to go than calling it "a love story." Semantics, sure, but the associations attached to "a love story" just derail that for me. What passes for love between all of these people is mortifying. (Meaning, 1000% truer than any simple old "love story.")

Sibia Marie said...

I still don't like the new title.

gregorybrown said...

I'm not convinced that this is a movie that needs making. The original is fine (once the matter of dumbed down subtitles was resolved)and works well enough to satisfy my needs. The only excuse for a new version would be a truer rendering of all the dire implications of the book: Hakan's rampage, Eli's childhood molestation and probable sexual neutering, all of the stuff that makes it a challenging and discomfiting story.

Patrick said...

I think you can call it a tragic love story, even though that throws my semantic panties in a bunch to. But lets say Eli really does genuinely care about Oskar. That doesn't mean she's not going to convince him to abandon his family and become a serial killer servant to her. That's just how Eli loves. That might be even creepier than her pretending to love Oskar, if its genuine feelings that motivate her manipulations.

I think I'm going to start pretending Let Me In has absolutely no association with this other Swedish film with a coincidentally similar name and premise that's absolutely awesome. I might be able to enjoy the final product, even with this redemptive bullshit thrown in, if it doesn't have anything to do with original in my head.